Diabetes: What it is and what measures should be taken?
Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic disorders characterized by a common condition of hyperglycemia. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease which develops early on in life while type 2 develops later on and is characterized by either under production of insulin or peripheral resistance to insulin. Type 2 is the more common type of diabetes.
Diabetes mellitus has a several chronic complications. These include damage to blood vessels (microangiopathy and macroangiopathy), hypertension, glaucoma, peripheral neuropathy, and nephrosclerosis. The classic symptoms of both types of diabetes include an increase in urination, food intake and water intake.
The diagnostic criteria for diabetes is blood glucose above 200mg/dL, fasting blood glucose above 126 mg/dL. The normal range of glucose is between 70 and 120 mg/dL. A HbA1c level greater than 6.5% is also a good indicator of long-term diabetes as red blood cells live around 3 to 4 months and this can give evidence as to whether the diabetes has been going on for a while rather than it being physiological as after a meal.
In Pakistan, diabetes type 2 is widespread. It is estimated that every one in three people is affected by diabetes. It is even worse that half of the population having diabetes not even aware that they have diabetes. The common cause of type 2 diabetes is obesity and this correlates with the sedentary lifestyle of Pakistanis.
The aim of diabetic patients should be adopting a healthy lifestyle which includes diet modification and physical fitness. For example, monitoring their blood glucose levels, taking a low sugar, low-fat meal. Furthermore, oral hypoglycemic agents such as sulfonylureas or any subcutaneous injections of insulin must be accompanied by meal in order to prevent hypogycemia.
There has also been substantial evidence in a possible cure for diabetes. Future cures may look towards stem cell transplantation in type 1 and 2 diabetes patients in order to cure it. Furthermore, gastric bypass surgeries coupled with a low-calorie diet can also possibly be a measure to cure obese patients who have developed type 2 diabetes.
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